Antoine Watteau, Woman in a striped Dress, a drawing

France, about AD 1716-18

This drawing is done in red and black chalks with pencil. Although not highly finished, it is a superb study of the costume of the woman as she sits and leans forward, her weight carried on both her hands. Her legs are hidden beneath her long dress, though we can see their position by the arrangerment of the drapery.

The woman's contour is outlined in pencil. Red chalk lines, in long stripes, indicate the pattern of the dress as it falls over her body. Drapery shadows are shown by the rubbed deep red chalk, especially on the back of her right sleeve and over her feet. Watteau altered the position of the fabric over her feet by lowering it for the final position.

Watteau's total mastery of red chalk is evident in his control of the lines of the fabric and the shading. The dress, by association, conveys the beauty, grace and elegance of the young woman, whose body is barely visible. Overall, this drawing shows Watteau's skill as a draughtsman, He was greatly admired by his contemporaries, including followers and collectors. The drawing was used for the central figure in the painting, Plaisirs d'Amour ('Pleasures of Love') now in Dresden, and again in the Divertissements champêtres ('Country amusements') in the Wallace Collection, London. It was also much admired by the French artist, François Boucher, who engraved it.

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More information


P. Hulton, Watteau: drawings in the Briti (London, The British Museum Press, 1980)

P. Rosenberg and L.A. Prat, Antoine Watteau 1684-1721: cat (Milan, Leonardo Arte, 1996)

M.M. Grasselli and P. Rosenberg, Watteau 1684-1721 (Washington DC, National Gallery of Art, 1984)


Height: 146.000 mm
Width: 181.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1895-9-15-936



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